The earliest oil lamps used were made of clay and manually shaped. From the Bronze Age up through the Greek period, they were made from molds as well as by hands. They were ordinarily plain but later pieces became elaborate. These antique oil lamps use different kinds of oil to produce that soft glow in your room.
Back then, burning an oil lamp was far from ‘romantic’. They were generally used for practical purposes. Lamp oil is still a petroleum product, only more refined to reduce smoke and soot. Oils used for antique oil lamps need not be expensive but an array of scented and colored ones can be found in stores. Unscented lamp oil is usually intended for indoor use, has no odor, no smoke and no soot. It burns slowly and evenly. Extra virgin olive oil, mineral oil, any cooking oil and even citronella scented oil (mosquito repellant) are sources of heat. These oils are available in flea markets, craft stores, antique shops, yard and rummage sales and even in large chain retail stores. Colored oils are used in lamps with clear bottoms. You can bring them out during holidays or special occasions. Some people choose to use other oils based on the intent of the lamp, but specifically, based on their personal intentions. Olive oil is intended for healing, blessing and success. Sweet almond oil in your lamp is used for love. Palm oil is for honoring and drawing African Spirits. For uncrossing rituals and protection, coconut oil is used. Meanwhile, you can also use mineral oil to overcome obstacles, to protect and master. If intended for revenge and domination, castor oil is preferred. Oil lamps are meant to burn the oil, not the wick. It is best to have adequate wick measurement to fit the wick holder. Fill the bottom of the lamp with oil and secure the wick holder into place. Saturated wick, when rubbed with your fingers, will feel oily to your touch. This will create the desired effect of the flame you would like to have. A thick wick does not affect the size of the flame much while a thin one burn oil more slowly. Antique oil lamps are readily found also in swap meets and online auctions, even in big department stores. Oil lamps burn about ½ ounce of lamp oil per hour when adjusted properly. In colder months, they tend to burn more than in warmer weather. You can add larger amounts of ingredients in your lamp. Add entire bottles of oil and the wick actually uses them as fuel. It was said that it was the responsibility of the woman of the house to keep the lamp burning day and night. You can assume she was up all night between wick trimming and oil filling.
Antique oil lamps are useful during power outages and will make great decorative pieces. Maintain their antiquity, usefulness and beauty. Proper care and maintenance will allow you and the next generation to enjoy them.